On the national stage, John Conyers stood tall as dean of the House -- its longest-serving member until staff harassment complaints sent him packing at the end of 2017. To Michigan colleagues and hometown admirers, the former congressman who died Sunday is recalled as a forceful advocate for equity and justice.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., salutes his "life of courage and dedicated service to Michigan and our country."
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, elected last November to the seat he held 52 years, tweets: "He never once wavered in fighting for jobs, justice and peace. We always knew where he stood on issues of equality and civil rights in the fight for the people."
Sunday's loss is the second this month of a black Democrat with a significant national impact. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a 23-year congressional veteran, died 10 days earlier at age 68. He chaired the House Oversight Committee, as Conyers did from 1989-95.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a former Southfield mayor (2001-15) now in her third House term, tweets:
I am more than saddened by the loss of a dear friend, colleague, & political pioneer. John Conyers spent a lifetime in public service dedicated to civil rights and justice for people of color in America. His legacy will continue to impact generations to come. #RestInPower pic.twitter.com/sf4GjubHQf— Brenda Lawrence (@RepLawrence) October 27, 2019
First-term Rep. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn ranks him with another former House dean -- her husband, who died in February and had served 60 years on Capitol Hill:
John Conyers spent his life championing those causes. The fights John Conyers fought will be remembered for generations. I am deeply saddened by his passing. May God bring his family comfort during this difficult time.— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) October 27, 2019
Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint salutes Conyers as "a fighter for civil rights" who "helped to advance many important causes, including expanding voting rights and equal rights for all Americans."
Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a senator from California, says the Detroiter "reminded us to fight for jobs, justice and peace and ensured we never forget Martin Luther King Jr.'s sacrifice. We carry on his fight." (Conyers introduced a bill that helped make Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday on the third Monday of January since 1986.)
Social media tributes also flow from ordinary Americans who admire the 90-year-old former congressman, such as this Texan:
We are losing giant black men in the political arena. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings we need fighters in this arena.— Ed Steward (@EdsCorner) October 28, 2019
A NBC News assignment desk assistant in Washington, D.C., shows Conyers leading Stevie Wonder onto a House elevator in an undated photo:
John Conyers, the longest serving black congressman in American history, who pushed for reparations and Medicare-for-All for decades and who was the only representative ever endorsed by MLK Jr., is dead at 90. Here he is on a House escalator. pic.twitter.com/2HgwppI6zw— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) October 27, 2019